More women are realizing that strength training can provide numerous positive systemic benefits. These include everything from better metabolism and improved hormonal regulation to increased bone density and just plain being stronger. As the ways in which strength training benefits women becomes more widely known, the facts behind them also come to light.
Statistically, women tend to put more emphasis on cardio, high-intensity interval training, stretching, and abdominal training than strength training. In fact, the National Center for Health Statistics shows that as few as one in five women include strength training in their weekly workout routines. Surely this percentage would be higher if more women understood its benefits in terms reaching and maintaining a healthy weight without dieting.
Engaging in strength training twice a week can reduce overall body fat by as much as three percent in as little as ten weeks for women without a diet change. This is because strength training reduces body fat and burns calories more efficiently. Muscle built during strength training also reduces a woman’s risk of injury by improving her balance and coordination.
Hormonal changes as women age often lead to decreased bone density, which also increases their risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become brittle and fragile due to a loss of tissue. That decrease in bone density puts women at risk of injury should they fall. The inclusion of regular strength training helps to slow that deterioration, so that bones maintain their strength longer.
It may come as a surprise to many that women generally have better stamina when it comes to maintaining at higher intensities. This often manifests itself in women needing fewer intra-set rest times than men. Although women carry less muscle mass than men, they produce the same amount of force per unit of area. Compared to men, most women have better hip, t-spine, shoulder, and pelvic mobility.
One of the biggest misconceptions about women in strength training is the concept of getting too bulky. The reality is that the majority of women will never appear “too muscular” regardless of their level of strength training. The area where women generally could gain too much mass is in their quadriceps via intensive squats and lunges.
Additionally, some women can see more development in their back through progressive overload with deadlifts, but reaching that level requires pretty intensive and progressive weights. Some women can get too muscular for their preferences in the upper body and should simply utilize variety rather than progressive overload for upper body lifts.
It is also possible for women to develop abdominals that appear too blocky for their personal preference by overdoing core training. With todays increased desire for a more pronounced backside, strength training can only do so much. In fact, women need not worry about overdevelopment in their gluteus maximus musculature no matter how much resistance training they perform.
There is little doubt that women enjoy being physically strong. By making strength training a part of their regular workout routine, women can enjoy numerous benefits that can positively affect all aspects of their lives.